A Spanish Gravel Adventure: In the footsteps of the Spanish Knight “El Cid”, Part One – by Timo Rokitta

We were inspired by the Hollywood movie “El Cid” starring Charlton Heston and Sophia Loren. We were so excited about the scenery and history, that we decided to explore this part of Spain with our gravel bikes.

gravel cycling in spain

On the homepage of the “Camino del Cid“, we found a lot of information about the route as well as file links for our navigation computers.

On the 1st of August of 2018, we started in front of the cathedral in Burgos, where “El Cid” and his wife Dona Jimenea are buried. The gravel roads led first through huge sunflower fields to the monastery in Santo Domingo de Silos.

After the Yeca Gorge, the track was very remote and the temperatures soared to 39 degrees Celcius. In the historic city “El Burgo de Osma”, we visited the old town and the cathedral.

The next morning, a steep path led up to the largest Arab fortress in Gormaz. From here we had a great view over the barren landscape.

In very hot temperatures we went to Atienza, a small town in the middle of nowhere. In Jadraque we rode over a slope with 25% gradient up to the castle of “El Cid”.

The small town of Sigüenza, with its historic old town and mighty castle, was another milestone in our journey. The area then became even more remote and we saw nobody for hours.

Only in the canyon in front of Arcos de Jalon did we encounter a few cars. The landscape afterwards resembled the southwestern United States. The old town of Daroca, which was surrounded by a beautiful city wall invited us to another night. In “El Poyo” stood statue of “El Cid”, we took some photos and rode to “Molina de Aragon”.

This was followed by two days when we almost only rode mountains. We rode past great rock formations and came to “Albarracin”, the most beautiful city in Spain.

In Cella we came to the bike path “Ojos Negros”, which leads over 200 kilometers almost to the Mediterranean Sea.

gravel cycling in spain

This path is a true dream. It leads through wild landscapes with innumerable tunnels and viaducts.

After 11 days we stood in front of the statue of “El Cid” in Valencia.

We have experienced ancient Spain with its endless sierras and historic small towns in approximately 1,000 kilometers.

Photo Gallery from the Journey

More Information is available at https://en.caminodelcid.org

Thank you so much to Timo Rokitta for this superb contribution. Part Two with more photos and further information about El Cid for Gravel Bikes will be coming soon, watch this space!

If you have an experience you’d like to share with the Gravel Cyclist audience, please contact us.


  1. Avatar Ken

    Amazing trip! And doubly amazing – no Ti bike, no carbon rims!!! Good show!

  2. Avatar Perdido

    You’re brave to do this trip in the middle of summer. April, May or early June is a bit more mellow temperature wise.
    Definitely lonesome route which is part of the charm.

  3. Avatar Jack

    This route looks very good, and what better way to get to know the landscape and the history of Spain, I will do it by bicycle

  4. Avatar Stephen

    Are you going to put a review of the Open U.P/U.P.P.E.R bikes you used? I’m looking at getting one (or an Exploro) and value your unbiased opinion very much.

    • JOM JOM

      Stephen, I didn’t put enough time on the Open U.P. to give an honest review at this time. With that said, I would like to arrange for a review of the Open U.P.

      • Avatar Stephen

        Thanks Jom
        I hope you do get one to review.

        That journey/adventure looks amazing. Since I was a teenager I have wanted to cycle through Spain and this has romanticized it all the more.

        Thank you

    • I think the OPEN UP or UPPER is the perfect gravel bike. It also offers some comfort over the Exploro. look at the OPEN CYCLE Site.

  5. Avatar Pedro Bäcker

    Hello Timo!
    My name is Pedro Backer, living in Bilbao Spain.
    Together with my brother and 3 school and university friends, we rode every summer for the last 6 years, during approx. 15/17 days in Germany. The first year we rode along the Elbe river, the second year along the Danube, the third year along the Maine river, the fourth year along the Rhine river, then along the Weser and this year along the Spree until Berlin and Usedom. We are all engineers, and we studied in Buenos Aires, Argentina. One guy lives in Miami, 3 in Argentina and myself in Bilbao. Several speak German and all English. Our ancestors came from Serbia, Austria, Germany and Poland The youngest is 73 and the oldest 77 years old. We ride ebykes and approx. 50 to 70 km per day. The main purpose is having fun, enjoying the landscape, the people, the food, the company, the remembrances of study days, etc, etc.
    I am organyzing these tours, and am considering making the CID tour, starting in Burgos. I am a bit worried, wondering if the dayly mileage will not be to difficult due to stony roads ot steep mountings. I would love to contact you on the fone and exchange some comments with you. My cellfone number is +34-685756285
    Below you will find my email. Do you use whatsapp?
    I am very very interested in your comments and in having the opportunity to speak to you!!
    Warmest greetings


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.